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Brookstone Clear Dual-Drive IEMs seem to be the Radius TWF21′s affordable twins

brookstonecdde Brookstone Clear Dual Drive IEMs seem to be the Radius TWF21s affordable twinsThose who read my Radius HP-TWF21 (aka. ‘DDM2′ aka ‘W n°2′) review know that I really like the lush, cinematic, larger-than-life sound of those IEMs. It turns out that Radius Japan didn’t actually develop/design those phones, but seemingly rebranded a Chinese OEM product, as is their usual modus operandi.

Be that as it may, these DDM2 sound exceptionally great to my ears – but their $250 price tag hurts quite a bit (especially considering their questionable build quality, the cheap materials used, and the fact that they have to be imported from Japan).

Enter American jack-of-all-trades retail chain Brookstone. Their ‘Clear Dual-Drive Earbuds’ go for $60 (or for $30-40 on eBay, if you’re lucky), and they are the same OEM design as the DDM2. They’re just a bit less tacky with silver accents instead of gold, and without cumbersome fabric-covered cable. Unfortunately they’re only available with an iPod/iPhone inline remote, there’s no standard non-headset version.

The big question of course is if they can match the glorious sound of the DDM2. Apparently they are somewhat differently tuned, after all. Over on the Head-Fi forums IEM-aficionado ClieOS mentioned that the Brookstones sound closer to the older DDM1 than to the DDM2. This is not a bad thing at all – the DDM1 sound great, they just have a rather awkward form factor. Getting a similar sound in the much more comfortable DDM2 housing might make the Brookstones worth the purchase – not to mention the price difference.

Via Head-Fi. Brookstone website.

Radius HP-TWF21 “W N°2” aka “DDM 2” Review

ddm2 main Radius HP TWF21 “W N°2” aka “DDM 2” ReviewRadius Co. Ltd. are from Japan, but unlike fellow countrymen such as Audio Technica or Denon, Radius mostly relies on rebranding Chinese OEM in-ear phones rather than creating original designs. Most of their products are found in the lower price segment, usually competing with fashion brands such as Skullcandy or JBuds.

This however changed when Radius introduced the HP-TWF11 “DDM” phone some time ago. They were priced at around $200 and featured a seldom seen construction that uses two dynamic drivers; a big one for bass and midrange next to the ear and a smaller one for treble behind it – hence the “DDM” nickname that stands for “Dual Driver Matrix”. While these DDM couldn’t quite compete with top-tier dynamic driver IEMs such as the JVC FX700 or Sennheiser IE8, they pulled off a gigantic in-your-face bass while still retaining some very nice stereo imaging, timbre, and good dynamic range.

Now Radius revised their DDM concept and released the HP-TWF21 “W N°2”. Compared to the old DDM, the new DDM2 (as I call them) have an infinitely better form factor, somewhat more tamed bass quantity, better clarity… and of course a somewhat higher price tag than the old ones.

Read on to find out more about them. Continue reading…